As if this year hasn't been bad enough with wholesale misery, impending financial doom, soaring unemployment, legions of school children who can't spell GCSE, and some old people dying with a nasty cough, we have now reached an all time low: the ubiquitous analogy.
It seems that government ministers cannot go three sentences before they feel the need to deploy an analogy in order to make attempting to understand their catastrophic mismanagement a little more fun. Before you know it, you're not thinking about COVID-19, you're imagining a football match where the players are germs, the goalkeeper is Boris Johnson, and the result is that he saves the world by stopping giant knobby balls with tentacles on them from going in his goal. In fairness to Boris, this isn't that far removed from his every day life, except that he's pretty much hopeless at stopping his giant knobbly balls from going anywhere they want to.
People may say this is ministers being helpfully creative when it comes to explaining a complex and ever changing situation...it's a bit like trying to cross a junction when the traffic lights are out...Actually it's got absolutely nothing to do with how the virus is communicated to us, and everything to do with the way it's being communicated to ministers. At university you can do any degree you like from Pop music to studying the socio economic effects of the introduction of Pumpernickel bread in modern Westphalia, however, there is no degree course in running the country. This means self obsessed morons are left to their own devices when deciding what to study in order to make the really big decisions, and usually that means taking PPE at Oxford or Cambridge.
For the top job of prime minister, this allows you a basic smattering of educational nuggets that ensures you don't make a complete tit of yourself at state dinners, but for all those other major roles, it's pretty disastrous. Matt Hancock has no option to start using analogies to describe the virus to us, because he gave up science after GCSE, and so when Witty and Valance had to teach him about it, it was clearly a case of using oranges and fuzzy felt books. Now government ministers have no option but to use analogies because that's the way it was described to them...almost like a football match where Boris has been playing like Millwall and then in the last 10 minutes decides to become Ajax.
The worrying things is, the analogy has been given such a new lease of life that we're all bloody doing it now. There was somebody on the radio the other day suggesting that the campaign against the virus was a bit like running a bath, and the water is only up to halfway. Just tell us the fight against Covid is halfway there and I promise you, most people with a pulse will understand. So, whatever you do in your best man speech, please avoid dropping the analogy bomb at all costs. At best it's going to be incredibly weak, and at worst you're going to sound like a government minister way out of his depth executing an exercise in reputation damage limitation.